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Meet Lynne McTurk and Adriana Toti of FUNbelievable in Lakeside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynne McTurk and Adriana Toti.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lynne, Adriana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Myself and my business partner were born and raised in Scotland with dreams of coming to America one day after some wonderful vacations and trips travelling across the West Coast. We fell in love with San Diego and knew we could make it work here!

In 2010, we began creating the “FUNbelievable” concept. We wanted to design an indoor play area that took us back to our childhoods. Back to basics. Good old fashioned, wholesome family fun. We wanted to design a facility that could be the heart of a community, somewhere that kids and grownups alike would enjoy spending quality time together. So we began designing our facility with the whole family in mind. A place where kids could be kids; run, jump climb slide and use their imaginations all within the confines of a safe environment and somewhere that parents could play alongside their kids too. A place where parents could enjoy their time as much as the kids did. With our leather couches, free Wi-Fi, espresso bar and onsite café parents were in their element too. We felt like we had found the perfect balance and created something that was very unique. We knew we could lead the way with a new concept in indoor play.

We made the decision to apply for our visas, sell of everything we had in the UK and start a new life on the other side of the pond. After many, many months of hard work and determination we opened our doors in the summer of 2011 and have been trading successfully ever since with a string of awards to our name. Including best indoor play space in Southern California (2 years in a row) and Best Kids Party Venue in Southern California and best Party Venue in San Diego (3 years in a row) We continue to grow our business and are looking into our options for expansion.

Has it been a smooth road?
We both owned businesses in the UK prior to moving to the States and both grew up in self-employed families. We thought we’d seen it all before and knew what to expect as we were quite experienced in our fields. We were wrong. Turns out setting up a business on a different Continent was very difficult. It was like starting over and learning everything from scratch. We learned that we may speak the same language but we really struggled to understand each other. Everything was so different and so difficult and so much red tape and hurdles to jump.

At the time of building FUNbelievable we were also both young, single women in our 20’s. That also proved to be a bigger hurdle than you would anticipate and something we’d never experienced before. It was a struggle to be taken seriously with the scale of the project we were trying to achieve. We were very hands on during the construction of our business in a very male dominated field.

We didn’t do things by halves either and even decided to import all of our equipment from the UK as well as flying a team of professionals over to install our huge play structure. There was a lot to project manage. In addition, we were trying to build a business, a new concept in facility that was completely foreign to the County of San Diego. Our business doesn’t fit into a standard mold and it made every little task a huge headache with long delays but we persevered and got there in the end.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the FUNbelievable story. Tell us more about the business.
We are FUNbelievable. San Diego’s award winning indoor playground and party oasis. At FUNbelievable, we’re all about an enjoyable escape for you and your little ones; a place for them to expand their imaginations and exercise their bodies; a place for fun; a place to bond; to meet new families and make new friends,

discover new abilities and have new adventures; a place to be a kid – especially if you’re an adult. A place to learn, to laugh, to grow… together.

We specialize in indoor play. Creating a safe, climate controlled environment for kids and parents alike to spend quality time together. We are open 7 days a week for drop in play time known as “open play”. Within our facility we also offer a full service café, making and serving freshly prepared, handcrafted lunches and drinks. The premise being to team good old fashioned active, physical play with healthier food options. Our facility shy’s away from any “fast food” type offerings and instead offers families a selection of “healthier” options. Freshly prepared to order each day. In addition to the conscious decisions we made about the food we serve we have also deliberately strayed away from TV’s, video games, arcade machines, coin operated games etc. You will not find these in our facility. We want kids to play the old fashioned way and be submerged into the play oasis we have created. Where they can use their imagination, makes friends and play until their hearts content on our giant multi-tiered play structure. We wanted to take kids back to our childhood and not be glued to iPad’s or TV screens but rather be swinging from palm trees, racing down lave slides, avoiding sharks, jumping crocodiles, finding treasure and making friends. If you let kids use their imagination the possibilities are endless. We use the term “wholesome family fun” a lot and as we build a brand that is what we want to put forward.

In addition to our open play we also have a very successful party service. We have won Best Party venue in both Southern California and San Diego on numerous occasions. We have created a selection of party options to suit all sizes and budgets. Our team of professional party planners and hosts go above and beyond to ensure that we create the perfect family friendly, stress free events for all of our guests. Sit back and relax while we take care of you.

In addition to open play and parties, which are our main focus and what has won us many awards and recognition, we also offer a few more FUN services that are a little less known about. For example, Our Friday Night “Date Night” service allows parents to drop off and leave the kids in our care while they enjoy an evening off. 3 hours of supervised and play and activities while parents can enjoy a meal or a movie. We also offer a popular “drop n Shop” service, again allowing parents to pay to leave the children under our supervision while they catch up on chores etc. This is massively popular in the run up to Christmas and the like.

We also honor our local “heroes” offering half price admission on Mondays. Hero Mondays are available for our Military, Law enforcement and Firefighting friends as a small way to show great thanks.

We are very proud that we had a very definite idea in mind of what we wanted to achieve with our business. It was unlike what others were offering and we somewhat went against the grain of what was expected and assumed of a kids play place. We stuck to our mission and core values and work hard to not just build a business but to lay the foundation for a brand and future plans of expansion.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Just in the last 7 years since we launched our business there has been some massive changes. One of the main reasons we initially followed this business opportunity was because we noticed a huge gap in the market. Growing up in the UK indoor play places are in every town and city and are very common. Having spent a lot of time travelling California we noticed that there was nothing quite like the place we played as kids here. We did a lot of research and travel and realized that something was missing. We knew we could fill that void in the market.

Many of the businesses we initially considered as “competitors” are long since gone, many of those businesses stopped trading and in recent years there has been a huge growth in the number of kid orientated indoor activity centers in San Diego. Since we opened the style of indoor play offerings has also shifted.

The trend right now is indoor trampoline parks which came along and replaced the trend of indoor jumpy places which had previously been popular. Luckily for us we didn’t follow the curve to begin with and we created something unique from the start, something that no one else has been able to replicate to our level of success thus far.

Pricing:

  • Open Play $12 first child + $10 additional siblings. Stay and Play as long as you like.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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